Project King CPD site visit – October 2015

5 November 2015

On 1st October, members of the Highlands and Islands branch of the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH), visited the Project King  construction site in Speyside.  The project is to build an integrated distilling and visitor experience extending to 14,800m2 underground so that it blends in with the surrounding landscape for The Macallan single malt Scotch whisky, which is owned by Edrington.  The new facility is scheduled to open to the public in 2017 with the first single malt from the new facility being available 10 years later.

The visit was arranged by the project’s Safety Coach Chris McMahon who is a Technical Member of IOSH and committee member of the branch.  Alec Moore, the Construction Manager with Robertson (the Principal Contractor) welcomed the group and gave an overview of the project along with an explanation of how the site is set up.  He briefed the group on some of the health and safety issues encountered at the site and the innovative solutions which were implemented to address them before taking the group on a tour of the site.

The standard for the site is set from the very first contact which is with the gate personnel who were welcoming, gave clear directions and reinforced the site’s reverse parking policy.  Site accommodation is modern interlinked porta-cabins with the capacity for the anticipated required expansion when the site workforce numbers peak at around 160.  Although having been in place for over a year, the accommodation has been maintained and cleaned to a high standard.

To reflect the international nature of the workforce the morning daily meeting is delivered in 3 languages.  Daily hazard boards are displayed with the information conveyed via photographs as well as text in English. One of these hazard boards is displayed at the single entry point for personnel which is via a face recognition activated turnstile (no worries about forgetting your site pass!)

On site the standard PPE requirements are hi-viz, hard hats, safety boots, safety glasses and gloves with different coloured hard hats to indicate the supervisor.  The lay down areas are clearly labelled and segregated using 2m Heras fencing.  Not only are there designated walkways but these are segregated using 1m Heras fencing with integrated personnel access points which greatly enhance the control of pedestrians.  The site Work at Height policy is the use of MEWP’s in preference to scaffold.

Welfare of the site personnel has not been overlooked.  The site has its own chef to prepare meals and on site Occupational Health services provided through NHS Grampian.    There has been liaison within the local community to establish what activities are available in which site personnel can participate on their day off.

The impression was a very well controlled, laid out and segregated site where the Principal Contractor had given consideration to wider issues beyond the site boundary such as engagement with key stakeholders along with welfare and wellbeing of site personnel.

Written by Stuart Webster
Chartered Member of Highlands & Islands branch of IOSH.